It's Happening at St. Paul's UCC!
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Faith Evolving, Lives Transforming
St. Paul's United Church of Christ
1101 Golf Course Rd SE
Suite 101
Rio Rancho, NM

Mailing address
P.O. Box 15755, Rio Rancho, NM 87174-0755


  Our core values…

Jesus Guided / Intentionally Inclusive / Peace Seeking / Justice Committed


Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.


Ephesians 4:15-16

Activities in January

No service on Sunday, New Year's Day

Sunday mornings

Worship Service
10:30 am

Social Hour
11:30 am

- - - -

Wednesday evenings

January 4, 11, 18, 25

DVD series: Myth in Human History

6:30 - 8:00 pm

See details below.

Saturday, January 14

Quilting, Painting, Giving

11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Tying quilts and stenciling flower boxes

See details below.

Saturday, January 28

A Play Reading

10 am - noon

An original work in which circumstances confine eight strangers who reveal their stories and grapple with issues of war/peace and more.

See details below.

Sunday, January 29

St. Paul's Annual Meeting

Following the morning service

See details below.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Other meetings at our location

11 am  Tai Chi

6 pm   Buddhist Meditation

Second Thursdays
1 pm   Parkinson's Support Group


Myth in Human History


6:30 – 8:00 pm


We have been studying about the importance of Myths in our lives and throughout human history. We have examined various creation, destruction, flood, gods, goddesses and hero myths. We will, during the month of January, focus our attention on female heros and trickster myths throughout the world. DVD lectures by Professor Grant L Voth, from the Great Courses is our primary source. This should be informative and fun.


Topics for January and February


January 4

“Female Heroes – Demeter and Hester Prynne” and
“Female Heroes – Psyche and Beauty”


January 11

“The Trickster in Mythology” and
“Tricksters From Around the World”


January 18

“Native American Tricksters” and
“African Tricksters”


January 25

“Mystic Tricksters” and
“The Places of Myth”


- - - -


February 1

“The Places of Myth – Mountains” and
“The Places of Myth – Sacred Trees”


February 8

“Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth” with Bill moyers as seen on PBS


Come, learn, question, discuss, have fun!


Pat Dunn

Chair, Faith Development Team





Quilting, Painting, Giving


Crafters and lovers of sharing laughter and camaraderie while doing good, we are now well on our way toward finishing THREE quilts and painting and stenciling FOUR boxes for flowers. These warm and snuggly baby quilts are done except for the “tying off,” which I just learned is a fairly easy thing to do (which means even I can do it.) We already have two flower boxes ready to be filled with compost and flowers. We will be getting two more boxes for those who want to experience this very fulfilling and beautiful activity.


Let me hear a loud “AMEN” for the wonderful Leslie Stine, who knows her way around a sewing machine and quilts and how to impart her wisdom. Let us give praise and thanksgiving for Linda Roberts, Connie LaBruyere and Lois Gray who came, saw what needed to be done, and conquered fears and doubts and accomplished great things. Let me hear a “HALLELUJAH.”


We will need to meet one more time to finish everything.


That day of magic will be

January 14, a Saturday, and the time is designated between 11:00 and 1:00.


There will be homemade soup and bread for all traveling this crafty highway. Y’all come now.


Trish Herron

Mission Team Co-Leader



A Play Reading


Trish Herron finally finished her play, one she’s been working on for 3 ½ years, and would dearly love to hear how it sounds to other ears besides the one in her head. If you would like to participate or simply cheerlead the applause (a high assumption), please come on Saturday, January 28, 10:00-12:00. Please, please, please be on time because it’s hard enough to understand on its own, but next to impossible if one misses some vital explanation.


What IS it about? It’s about 8 people, three from a different dimension, who come together during an Albuquerque summer late night at the Frontier Restaurant and experience a shooting and death right outside and are thereby forced into a Lock Down. These strangers, possibly because of the stress of the incident, begin talking and sharing with one another. Peace, war, abuse of women and the desire for light in this very dark place we find ourselves now are all discussed. There are no easy answers, but there is an extension of hope after this encounter.



Ursula: a 50ish Professor of Anthropology at UNM (knows a lot about myths)

Wilma: a 30ish Pueblo woman in the army (been on several tours)

Grandmother: 70, earth mother, but looks often like a homeless person

Officer Bob: UNM policeman, instrumental in keeping them in Lock Down

Manuel: 70, blind Hispanic man who fought in the Korean War

Miranda: 20ish, African-Am, UNM student going for Masters in Psychology

Boy and Girl: 9ish, spirits deciding what to be born as on this earth



St. Paul's UCC Annual Meeting

Sunday, January 28

following the morning service


We will:


Review, amend and vote to accept the Annual Report for 2016

Review, amend and vote to accept slate of leaders for the ministry of St. Paul's

Review, amend and vote to accept proposed Church Budget for 2017


All are encouraged to participate in the discussions. Only members may vote.


Search Committee News


The Search Committee will meet early this month to bring the long-awaited document – the Local Church Profile – to completion, pending the required addition of our most recent Church budget. The Council will have the opportunity to review the Profile before it is sent to the Southwest Conference office.


I offer no prediction when we will begin receiving inquiries from ministers interested in becoming our pastor. Be assured that the Search Committee will continue to move forward in this process with the best interests of our Church in mind.


Our sincere thanks to you all for your patience. Together the friends and members of St. Paul's will make good use of this transition period as we reflect on the ministry of our Church and forge deeper and wider connections.


Sandra Chapin
Search Committee Chair


Happening in the Southwest Conference

Listening Sessions hosted by Executive Board Members


As our conference looks toward the future we are interested in how all members of the conference see who we are, what is important and how we should prioritize goals for our coming journey. With this in mind, your Executive Board has committed to leading “listening sessions” around the conference. Your input gives guidance to the Executive Board and staff for planning next steps.

The Listening Sessions focus on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of our conference. From the information that you offer, specific goals will be established. In addition to the In-person Listening Sessions, zoom/conference call sessions will also be available. Those dates, times, and connect information will be available soon.

The Albuquerque meeting will be held at First Congregational UCC on Saturday, January 28. Time to be announced.


Reflection for the New Year


God of new beginnings, God of sacred endings, under the shade of a darkened sky, in this in-between time and space, unsure of what the future holds... we await transformation, renewal, the chance to begin again.


Our times are in your hands, O God; give us hope for the journey.


We have traveled through dangers seen and unseen, we have tiptoed through dark nights of the souls and wrestled against powers that should have kept us down.


Our times are in your hands, O God; give us courage for the journey.


May we be ever mindful of your Still Speaking Voice; to dance without fear when the morning has come, and to know that with the coming of your light fear must release its death-grip on our lives.


Our times are in your hands, O God; give us light for the journey.


Adapted from: Watch Night Service
written by the Rev. J. Lee Hill, Senior Pastor,
Christian Fellowship Congregational UCC of San Diego


From the Editor's Desk
Ernie Dunn

In the opening part, the Inferno, of Dante Alighieri's allegorical epic poem, the Divine Comedy, the reader is lead by Virgil on a mythological excursion into Hell. The supposed inscription at the entrance to be read by all about to partake of the pangs of Hell is "Lasciate ogue speranza, voi ch'intrate," the translation of which we all know as "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." I would readily agree that, given the tragic fate that awaited, hope might have been at this juncture truly more than what Leroi Jones labeled as "a delicate suffering." To render negatively a phrase I read years ago, "it is not easy to be hopeful in the day when you cannot see the things you wish on and to which you aspire."


In recent conversations with friends and family concerning the times in which we are living, more than a few times the topic has centered upon the notion that our nation is "going to hell in a hand basket." Perhaps there is an inscription dangling over our heads like the proverbial sword of Damocles, "abandon hope all you who proceed from this point forward," for what lies ahead is an imminent and ever present peril. In such instances hope may appear to abandon its role as the "sister of misfortune."


From time to time recently, I have been reminded of the lyrics of an old blues song, "If you ever been down, you know just how I feel. Like a broken down engine, got no steering wheel."


Let us be clear, our lives all have moments of despair and disappointments, times when living may not seem worthwhile. As Margaret Mitchell would remind us: "Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect." Such moments may temporarily drain us of our resolve and strength, deeply painful is the dagger thrust into our hearts and souls. The further problem is that we may be encouraged to allow the "shining thread of hope" to become so enmeshed in the tangling web of circumstances that we lose sight of it or simply choose to abandon it. It is then that we may cite only the negatives and plunge into even deeper holes of discouragement.


In such moments as these, I seek courage and uplift in words such as "Only a (person) who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss." (Alexandre Dumas) Or I might be reminded of the lyrics of another blues song that I heard my mother sing a time or two, " The sun is going to shine in my back door some day." I seek to discover whatever might speak joyful courage to my heart, something that might suggest the day desired will come.


Recently, I watched the interview Oprah Winfrey had with Michelle Obama. At a pivotal point in that interview, Mrs. Obama spoke inspiringly of the hope that fills her life in the midst of doubts and despair. As I listened to her, I was encouraged, I become more hopeful. She spoke truth to power reminding us that out the sighs of every generation are kneaded the hopes and courage for the next. I fully agree that where hope abides, life has meaning and, therefore, there is possibility. And, wherever there is possibility, change, especially for the good, may occur.


Listening to her was a great lesson, a reminder that courage and confidence can indeed be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. I cannot recall her exact words, but it was in the nature that hope ultimately triumphs over experience. And lest we forget, nothing meaningful can be done without hope and confidence.


More decades than I care to recall, Dr. Karl Menninger offered a definition of hope that I have kept close to heart and mind ever since I first read it. He offered that "hope is not identical with optimism. Optimism is distant from reality, it emphasizes the importance of "I". Hope is modest, humble, selfless: it implies progress, it is an adventure, a going forward - a confident search for a rewarding life." I have also been inspired by Albert Camus' notion that "Hope is the ability to accept the realities of life, not in despair, but in the hope of being able to rise above them."


The present year is rapidly drawing to a close and the coming year with all its promise and possible peril will soon be upon us. My hope is that each one of us in this year to come will dare to make mistakes. What? Why? Because if we are making mistakes, hopefully these are evidences that we are trying new things, exploring, discovering, learning, pushing ourselves, changing ourselves and hopefully helping to change our world. Let us all be challenged to infuse our lives with action. Make it happen. Let us make our own hope. Let us seek to build a hope filled future together. As we proceed into the New Year, may our hopes, not our fears and hurts, shape our future. When hope is alive, the night is less dark, the solitude less deep, fear less acute. "Let us learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow." (Albert Einstein)


Finally let us never forget the old adage that "hope is as cheap as despair."


Cheers from the PUB
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager


Resolutions. Been there, done that – breaking them, I mean. I'm in the mood for trying something new.

So out with the old: Good-bye 2016. Hello Sweet '17.


I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks. It started as just a gimmick for another newsletter essay, but I've gotten into the spirit of the thing. Throughout 2017 I'm going to do seventeen... whatevers. Here are the choices I've come up with so far.


I can make seventeen trips to the public library. The actual library may vary – that's not critical to my plan. Seventeen trips over a period of fifty-two weeks doesn't seem like much of a challenge, but I didn't say I was going to make this pledge difficult for myself. And this one is sweet indeed, since I love going to libraries. It's something I used to do often, yet in the past few years I've let the habit slip.


Once I commented to a friend that going to the library is like going to Disney World. I've never been to Disney World, or Disneyland. Still I imagine it as a place to explore, a place of learning and delight. I will go without an agenda and browse aisle after aisle, letting the titles call out to me. I'll page through some of those books and find one or two to take home. It will not take long for my interest to be peaked.


Another idea is to write seventeen letters. This one I've puzzled over. Should I write one letter each to seventeen people? Or would these people write back and expect me to write again? This could end up with me writing a whole lot of letters. Like going to the library, I used to write letters on a regualr basis. Then I got busy with other things. I can probably handle writing in moderation.


I could write my sister seventeen letters. She'd probably want to text me back. Maybe I can annoy seventeen people with a chain letter. Or I could cut a magazine picture into seventeen pieces and mail each one separately to a person – who would want to write me, telling me to quit it, only I would not include a return address. Maybe I should study up on postal regulations and enforcement procedures.


I'm also considering trying out seventeen new recipes. Or going to seventeen restaurants new to me. Might take seventeen photographs of a particular category – like seventeen sunsets, or flower pots, or menu boards at restaurants. (Not the drive-though kind. Too easy.) I could learn seventeen new words, per week, for seventeen weeks. I'd have to make that one more enticing, like sitting at the Barnes & Noble cafe, reading through borrowed magazines – of genres I'm not used to – and taking notes, while slurping a frappucino.


I could pick a far off country I'm not familiar with (many fit that description!) and learn facts about seventeen cities. Or, closer to home, study how to identify seventeen types of trees found in New Mexcio. I think you get the picture... Hey, I could draw pictures of seventeen fantasy trees native to my imagination.


I might even come up with seventeen events in my life that have impacted my faith – or seventeen ways my faith can be expressed.


What this all boils down to is using my head and heart to be playful, to nurture my curiosity, to expand my world. That's the direction I want 2017 to take me. What will you do to make the year sweet for yourself?


St. Paul's UCC Leaders 2016
Pastoral Transition Team
Rev. Ernie Dunn, Lois Gray, Sandra Chapin

Music Director
William W. Williams


Church Council

Darrell Taylor

Sandra Chapin

Anita Curtis

Financial Secretary
Yvonne Dudley

Assistant Treasurer
Assistant Financial Secretary
Carol Smith

Church Clerk
Yvonne Dudley
Faith Development
Patricia Dunn

Sandra Chapin

Anita Curtis and Trish Herron


St. Paul's View Staff
Ernie Dunn
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager






Upplands-Vasby, Stockholm, Sweden

Taken on January 15, 2012

Public domain


Core Values

Ivan Forsman


Taken on October 18, 2015

Public domain



Bernard Spragg.NZ

'Ophelia' Southgate

Museum, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

One of Southgate’s most well known icons has always been the mosaic sculpture Ophelia created by Melbourne artist Deborah Halpern. As part of the redevelopment, Ophelia underwent an extensive restoration and relocation to a prime position on the Southgate promenade. Multi-colored sculptural structures dot the riverside promenade close to the Crown Entertainment Complex. Unlabeled by plaque or other inscription, these quite ornamental structures are for the viewer to explain, or just simply to enjoy.

Taken on September 4, 2015

Public domain


Myth in Human History

Bernard Spragg.NZ

Ruins of old convent Paoay.FZ200

San Juan, Ilocos Region, Philippines

Ruins of San Augustin Convent sit silently just a few meters beside the Paoay Church. There it lay bare with a roof opening wide to a vibrant blue sky and the red brick foundations that undeniably surpassed the test of time. Debris of the old structure are scattered every where like pieces of Lego that would once again built the forgotten structure. Some might think that rebuilding the ruins would once again glorify the past but I think, with a little trash-picking, it’s simply beautiful as it is.

Taken on December 4, 2014

Public domain


Quilting, Painting, Giving

Alan Levine

Amazing Alley of Mosaic Design

Near Fabric Row, Philadelphia

Taken on June 15, 2008

Public domain


A Play Reading

Joe deSousa

Main stage of the Palais Garnier, Paris

We went to see a performance of La Sylphide at the beautiful Palais Garnier.

Taken on July 4, 2013

Public domain


Annual Meeting

Image Catalog

Vintage Work Tools

Source: Unsplash

Taken on July 19, 2014

Public domain


Search Committee

Kostandid Minga


Taken on December 25, 2015

Public domain


Happening in the SWC

Alan Levine

Old Adobe Mission in Scottsdale

The setting sun cast perfect light on this old church, which has recently been renovated.

Taken on February 18, 2008

Public domain



Alan Levine

Golden Reflection

View from Chicago Architecture boat tour

Taken on August 27, 2006

Public domain


From the Editor's Desk

Bernard Spragg.NZ

Catholic Cathedral Christchurch

Canterbury, New Zealand

Taken on May 27, 2007

Public domain


Cheers from the Pub

Sebastian Dooris


Taken on June 24, 2012

Public domain



Bernard Spragg.NZ

Modhere Sacred Well, Modhera, Shenzhen

Shahe, Guangdong, China

The Window of the World is a theme park located in the western part of the city of Shenzhen in the People's Republic of China. It has about 130 reproductions of some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world squeezed into 48 hectares.

The Sun Temple, Modhera, at Modhera in Gujarat, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God, Surya. It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. This temple depicts the essence of ancient times. The sculptures and architecture present in this temple are still magnificent after all these years. In the present times, prayers are not offered in this temple. This temple is now under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India.

Taken on March 22, 2009

Public domain


View Staff

Image Catalog

Colorful Duplo Building Blocks

Source: Pixabay

Taken on March 15, 2015

Public domain



Alex Liivet

Aberystwyth King's Hall building

Wales, United Kingdom

This 1990s building on Aberystwyth's seafront replaced the striking art deco King's Hall. Originally much hated for its ugly and out-of-place appearance, as well as for replacing a much-loved public facility, some imaginative painting has turned the formerly dingy, weathermarked white monstrosity into something a bit more attractive.

Taken on July 17, 2010

Public domain


Copyright © 2016 Camino Press, All rights reserved.

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